A PRAGMATIC ANALYSIS OF CHRISTIAN HANBILLS AND POSTERS
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This study is designed to examine how effectively Christian Hanbill and posters in Abuja communicate religious message. In other words it looks into whether the posters are designed in a way the audiences understands them. It also explores the strategy employed to design religious posters and billboards.
Since the major concern of the research is to know how effectively the billboards transmit the intended message towards the respondents, 100 respondents are randomly selected as research participants. Questionnaire is used as a major data-gathering instrument. Besides, to substantiate the study churches’ communication planners and programme officers are purposively selected. Interview is conducted with churches’ communication planners and programme. Accordingly, the data gathered is analyzed by using different methods of data analysis, like: descriptive approach for qualitative data and using frequency and percentage for quantitative data.
The result shows that unsuccessful message transmission of Christian Hanbill and posters is related significantly with inadequate skill of message designing proficiency of churches’s communication planners. Generally, it is noted that the target audience have not participated in message designing and in the decision process, which contributes for unsuccessful message transmission. This result of the study, therefore, proves unsuccessful communication flow through Christian Hanbill and posters.
BACKGROUND TO STUDY
The exhibit from the world’s largest collection of reveals the potential of posters as effective medium for communicating information about programmes, identifying factors, and promoting behavioral change. By examining the history and function of religious posters, the exhibit suggests that social, biological, and cultural factors have collectively influenced the design of religious campaigns throughout the preceding century (Boyle, 2003).
Religious publicizers began to use posters in publicityal campaigns starting
from early nineteenth century. Church publicizers specialists adopt modern methods of visual persuasion. Instead of dull pamphlets, they felt that modern religious messages should mark attractive layouts, colors, and typefaces for greatest impact (Colgrove, 2004). “Publicity should be dramatic, entertaining, and carefully planned” Moree cited in Colgrove (2004, 506). Posters are designed in a way to catch the attention of viewer and communicate messages quickly, most often with limited text and strong graphics. As relatively inexpensive forms of popular media, posters in the twentieth century are favorite ways to advocate a cause. They provide opportunity for community concerns, and can be used to call to a broad public audience (Boyle, 2003).
Due to the many qualities posters have, religious campaigners are encouraged
to use them as powerful medium for visually communicating knowledge about
programmes, and for promoting changes in behavior. In the process, poster designers developed a visual vocabulary to help shape and define “normal “and “religiousy” behaviors and conditions which has provided the basis for a variety of campaigns against infections programmess and church campaigns (Boyle, 2003,2).
Statement of the problem
This study aims to analyse how effectively church posters in selected Abuja churches communicate religious message. In other words, it looks in to whether the poster are designed in a way the audience understands them. It also explores the strategy presently employed by churches communication unit in designing religious messages.
Posters and posters are believed to play vital role for people to gain awareness
and control over factors that influence their basic needs. Concerning this visual
aids, Starrs and Rizzuto (1995, 1) state “experience has shown that, a well designed campaign can change people’s knowledge, attitudes and behavior” (Starrs and Rizzuto, 1995, 1). They also emphasize that effective campaigns begin through research to find out what people currently know, believe and do.
Particular attention needs to be paid in designing posters and posters especially
for a society where reading culture is not vastly developed. Many people doubt the quality of religious posters and posters produced in Abuja. Most of these visual materials seem to be produced on impulse rather than assessing audience’s background and involving target audience. So their effectiveness is also doubtful. Though initiatives have been taken to curb religious problems (like the spread of HIV) little has been done to certain the impact of these posters and posters on bringing awareness and promoting behavior change.
A report on assessment of the National Religious Communication (2004,8) states that,“in most cases the religious learning materials produced at the central level are mostly not considered useful and applicable to their situations”. Most of the regions believe that, materials and messages created by the center do no explain the realities of the regions.
Mody (1991, 19) states that, “Most of the development workers frequently lack
the skills, tools, techniques and attributes to understand and involve audiences in the development process. This is a problem of communication and unfortunately not enough practical attention has been paid to the research to lessen it”.
Accordingly audiences should have the opportunity to collectively criticize, analyze and participate in the communication process (White, 1991).
1.3 Objective of the study
1.3.1 General Objective
This paper is designed as a pragmatic analysis the effectiveness of church’s posters in creating awareness and promoting behavior change. In other words, the general objective of the study is to investigate if message is clearly communicated in a way the target audience perceives.
1.3.2 Specific Objective
More specifically the study attempts to see the following objectives:
- To draw attention to use visual images in religious promotion both to aid in creating awareness and in promoting behavior change.
- To asses knowledge, attitude and perception of members in relation to visual images
- To assess the poster designing process undertaken by churches: whether the pre and post-production process involves the target audience or not.
- To identify gaps and draw lessons in relation to religious posters designing process.
1.3.3 Research Questions
All the undertaking of this study is finally expected to show how effectively
message is communicated through churches’s posters. To this end; the study
answers the following basic questions based on a framework for making public
awareness posters by Bowers (1981).
- Is the channel preferable by the community?
- Does the image represent the caption?
- Does the message stimulate emotions?
- Is the message clear and easy to understand?
- Is the message target specific?
1.4 Significance of the Study
This study is believed to promote the utilization of posters and posters for the
purpose of message transmission. It is believed to contribute towards generating
guidelines necessary for further improvement of poster production to bring about the expected result.
This study promotes the significance of empowering people to participate in any
development work through participatory communication. It enables the society to influence the decision-making processes of formulating and implementing
products and programs intended to satisfy their needs and solve their problems.
The society will benefit if messages are transmitted to them in a way they
understand best, thus creating awareness and promoting behavior change.
This research has significance to communication planners and message designers as well. It helps them to examine and act upon the strength and weakness of their message transmission skill. For churches too, this study is important because it enhances message-designing skill of communication planners and religious workers.
1.5 Scope of the Study
The paper examines the effectiveness of church’s posters in communicating
religious messages. However this study does not include the recently produced
Church’s posters since they came out after the data for this research has
already been gathered. Moreover, the study doesn’t incorporate other posters
produced by other organizations, because Church’s posters are created with
multi purpose to overcome the obstacles that poverty, violence, programmes and discrimination places in a child’s path. Furthermore they advocate for measures to give children the best start in life mostly with the nurturing and caring of children as a corner stone’s of human progress.
1.6 Limitation of the Study
To conduct this study, only Churches’s posters in Abuja are used due to time
and financial constraints. As a result, these constraints couldn’t help the researcher to incorporate posters outside abuja. Thus, due to this, the study doesn’t show the audience perspective outside the capital city. This in turn shows that the results of this study are applicable to the selected area
A PRAGMATIC ANALYSIS OF CHRISTIAN HANBILLS AND POSTERS